Bunions are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe. Also known as hallux valgus, it occurs when the joint between the big toe and the metatarsal bone higher up on the foot gets deformed, causing the big toe to bend laterally, squeezing against the other toes. The bump often gets sore and blistered. Calluses also develop under the toes.
The cause for bunions in my case is hereditary. It runs in the family and being the only adventurer, it is also a problem that bothers me most. I can’t be wearing sandals on an alpine hike.
The presence of bunions will pose a lot of difficulties finding properly fitting footwear. This has forced me to buy oversized shoes to accommodate the width created by the bunions. It is more than an inconvenience for me as I often have trouble balancing on rocky ground with oversized hiking boots. I’m reminded of my childhood days when my mother always bought me floppy, oversized shoes to give allowance for growth. She’ll probably still buy oversized shoes for me if I allow her, but it’s no joking matter and I won’t do this to my kids. I already had a few slips and falls on the mountains recently and the next one could be fatal!
So what can be done about bunions? Mention the word surgery and most people will flinch. Quite understandably, they begin with a conservative approach as I did. Here is a spacer which I still use occasionally. While it reduces the discomfort of having your toes squeezed together, you still need your oversized shoes which make you kind of clumsy on your feet.
Then we have the padding for the bump. I can only tolerate this for a couple of hours because my toe gets itchy and ischaemic after a few hours. However, it may suit you if you can tolerate it. The advantage is that you can wear smaller, better fitting shoes.
Finally, we have the traction devices. I’ve tried them and thrown them all away. In a sense, they are worse than the spacers. I used to wear them overnight. But within hours after taking them off, you’re back to square one. Advertisements which show bunions resolving after months of wearing these appliances are all fake. So take my advice, use the spacers and padding if you want a more conservative approach, but don’t buy these contraptions.
Finally, we come to the ultimate solution – surgery. After learning about a minimally invasive day surgery, after which I can remain ambulant, I went for a consultation with orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sean Ng at Ardmore Orthopaedic Clinic. I will be documenting my “journey” on this blog, sharing my anxiety and agony (if any). So whether you’re interested in knowing more about bunion surgery or just concerned about me, do follow this blog and my latest updates. Below is a video that illustrates what happens in the day surgery.
The surgery was booked on the 26th January 2019. Check it out here.